Note: You must be registered in order to post a reply.
To register, click here. Registration is FREE!
|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 17 Aug 2017 : 10:38:57
Accountant General, bank managers appear before commission on Jammeh’s assets
By Dawda Faye
The Point: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Gambia’s Accountant General Momodou Lamin Bah has appeared before the commission of inquiry into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh, to explain his links to tax recovery accounts with some commercial banks in the country.
Mr Bah, who served as accountant general in March 2014, was summoned in relation to tax recovery accounts at Trust Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, according to lead counsel in the commission Amie Bensouda.
Testifying on 14 August 2017, Mr Bah said he was not aware of the said accounts, but revealed that “the accounts are in the commercial banks”.
He further posited that his office obtained information from Trust Bank but Guaranty Trust Bank was “not cooperative”, as GTBank “did not share any information” with his office.
Mr Bah, who also said he is a finance expert, told the commission that by law, no government account should be opened without the knowledge of the Accountant General.
Having worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Finance, as he adduced, Mr Bah further stated that government accounts should be domiciled at the Central Bank. No government account should be opened without the approval of the Ministry of Finance on the recommendation of the Accountant General, he added.
At this juncture, the lead counsel informed Mr Bah, who said he lives in Brusubi, that the commission would issue him with a subpoena to come back and continue his testimony.
In his testimony, GTBank’s Managing Director Bolaji Ayodele, who has before this day appeared and testified at the commission, said he had dalasi and dollar transfers of Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd he was asked to bring along.
The lead counsel then applied to tender the documents, which the commission accepted, and the said withdrawal documents were tendered and admitted.
Mr Ayodele stated that there were 43 withdrawals from the dalasi account from 2 November 2015 to 9 December 2016.
He said the foreign currency transfers were not in order, adding that the CFA transfers from dalasi was equivalent to D212,864,967.
He posited that $64,800, which was equivalent to D4,566,049.08, was transferred, adding that 19,863.25 Euros, which was equivalent to D1,067, 716.02, was also transferred.
He adduced further that foreign transfers out of the bank were as follows: on 19 July 2016, $8,230, on 29 July 2016, $60,000 from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Gamcel, on 4 August 2016, $6,000 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, 10 August 2016, £33,000 was transferred; on 19 August 2016, $30,000 was also withdrawn, on 29 August 2016, $40,230 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, on 19 September 2016, there was a purchase of $20,000, on 11 March 2016, the equivalent to CFA transfer was D122,315,000 to Senegal, on 17 March 2016, CFA63,465,480 was also transferred to Senegal, on 4 March 2016, CFA 42,048,895 was transferred to Senegal, on 21 February 2017, $142,800 was converted.
Mr Ayodele further stated that an amount of $31,250, which was equivalent to D1,339,062.50, was transferred to Ecobank The Gambia and that $1,800, which was equivalent to D77,670, was also transferred to the same bank.
He said there was a withdrawal of D600,000 on 22 October 2015, from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Kanilai Family Farm.
He posited that on 12 January 2016, one Alpha Jallow withdrew D5,000,000, adding that his ID card was attached but the purpose for the withdrawal was not indicated.
At this juncture, the shipment bank statement of the said company was tendered and admitted by the commission.
Next to testify was Ebrima Salla, the managing director of Trust Bank.
He said he was appointed as MD on 1 July 2016, but prior to that, he was the head of Corporate Department at the bank, adding that he was the relationship manager for 9 years.
He told the commission that he had documents with different signitories.
He posited that tax recovery accounts were opened on 1 September 2013, and that Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service, and Nuha Touray, Secretary to Cabinet, were signitores to the said accounts.
A letter from the Ministry of Finance dated 21 August 2013, was tendered and admitted.
Mr Salla said there was a letter signed by Nuha Touray on behalf of Momodou Sabally.
Change of signitory documents and related papers in respect of account number 100-128385-01 Trust Bank was tendered and admitted in a bundle.
He further posited that D33,822,753.88 came into the said account, and that D29,225,793.77 went out of the account, adding that D4,596,960.11 was the balance of the account.
He said that a cheque for D200,000 was paid to Gai Enterprise and signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray, adding that another cheque for D1,947,346 was on 7 October 2016, issued to Sheriff Sawaneh, a customer of the bank.
Mr Salla adduced that there was an authority signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray for the payment of D1,396,740 to Ansumana Tamba.
Mr Salla was asked by one of the commissioners whether he wondered why the tax recovery account was opened by the office of the former president and not by the Ministry of Finance.
In response, he said it raised suspicion.
Sittings continue today.
Picture: Trust Bank MD Ebrima Salla and GTBank Bolaji Ayodele
|15 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 25 May 2018 : 18:07:53
Dr. Njogu Bah, Col. Gomez Re-appear At ‘Janneh’ Commission
Foroyaa: May 22, 201827
By Mamadou Dem
Dr. Njogu Bah, the erstwhile Secretary General in charge of former presidential affairs and former head of the civil service and Colonel Paul Atta Gomez of the Gambia Armed Forces, yesterday re-appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission to answer to questions regarding the construction of a line house at the Farafenni Army Barracks, by the Army Engineering Company.
Prior to his testimony, Mr. Bah was given a document showing payment of 50% of the contract sum. It was then put to him that this was received before the signing of the contract. In response, Dr Bah said he had instructions that the contract should be given to the Army Engineering Company but was instead given to Value Engineering Company.
Barrister Anna Njie further put it to him that over $250,000 was received from the Taiwanese Embassy for the said contract, to which he confirmed receiving a cheque for the payment of the construction of the line house; that a cheque dated 6th December 2012, was signed on his behalf.
He was again asked why the Ministry of Works did not sign the contract. Dr Bah responded that he had a boss who instructed him to sign the said contract; that the Ministry of Works was involved when things were normal.
Counsel Anna Njie asked him whether all monies paid were kept in the office of the Secretary General but he responded that he could not remember when the money was in the office of the Secretary General. It was again put to him that over $250,000 from the Taiwanese Embassy for the construction of the line house was more than the cost of the contract, which was D3, 840,582.72. Mr. Bah responded that the Army Engineering Company was paid three times and that the office of the former president was responsible for the project.
At this juncture, another document was shown to him indicating payments for fertilizer, to which he responded that it was the former president, who was responsible.
Two documents were shown to him indicating payments of $800,000 and $600,000 respectively. The witness stated that the monies were for the rendering of services to the former Government by two Companies. He however could not recall whether the Companies had contracts with the former Government. Dr Bah informed Commissioners that the said Companies had training with the army. The documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Earlier testifying, Colonel Paul Atta Gomez of the Gambia Armed Forces, shed light on the construction of the same line house at Farfenni. He said he started work in the army in 1988 and was a private soldier who was later promoted to the rank of Cadet.
According to him, the construction of the line house started on the 6th of November 2012; that he was instructed by former CDS Ousman Badjie, together with the finance secretary; that they signed a contract and there was a design prepared by somebody else; that they were given a document and the bill of quantities amounting to of D3, 840,582.72. Colonel Gomez disclosed that this was the first project to do a contract with the former president. Counsel Njie asked whether it was normal for the Army Engineering Company to do a contract with the former Government, and he responded in the affirmative; that they worked directly with other Ministries but not with the Ministry of Works. He confirmed that the contract was signed by him, Dr Njogu Bah and the former CDS.
At this juncture, a contract dated 6th November 2012, between the State House and the Gambia Armed Forces, and a bill of quantities dated 30th October 2012, and signed by GAF, were tendered and admitted as exhibits, along with a sketch plan.
Col. Gomez revealed that he was asked to prepare a bill of quantities for a line house which he signed; that he went to the Director of Finance and 40% of the contract sum amounting to D1, 521,833.08, was paid by Dr Njogu Bah, to the Director of Finance at GAF, in cash.
Further testifying, he told Commissioners that they wrote a letter to the office of the former president when they completed the construction.
At this juncture, two letters dated 24th April 2013, and 30th of May 2013, respectively indicating the inspection of the construction of the line house and their handing over, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
He was also asked whether it was usual to be receiving monies from the office of the former president and in response, Col. Gomez stated that they were part of the construction team; that if the CDS gave them instructions to do some construction, they would go by it.
A voucher dated 7th December 2012, indicating the payment of D1, 521,833.08 which represents 40% of the contract sum, was also admitted as exhibits.
Hearing continues today.
||Posted - 25 May 2018 : 12:43:29
‘NAWEC had serious governance problem’
The Point: Thursday, May 24, 2018
Commissioner Bai Saine of the Janneh Commission yesterday told NAWEC finance director, Amat S. Cham, that NAWEC had serious governance problem.
Mr. Cham was continuing his evidence on matters relating to the national energy company, NAWEC, among other issues.
In his testimony, he dwelled on the composition of the liabilities of NAWEC, further stating that there was a capacity charge which was supposed to cover the cost of investment.
According to him, they had been receiving invoices from Global Trading Group until when they were asked by the office of the former president to stop paying for the capacity charge.
However, he said he did not know the reason for stopping them from paying the capacity charge, which he said, was dated 21st of May, 2010, noting that the managing director of NAWEC also wrote to the office of the former president for confirmation.
Mr. Cham told the commission that they did not receive a letter from the Ministry of Finance dated 18th of November, 2014, to Global Trading Group, adding that the letter indicated that the sum of $10.8 million capacity charge should not be paid.
He further told the commission that there was a letter dated 18th of December, 2014, written by the Ministry of Energy to the secretary general, who did not respond.
At this juncture, a letter dated 15th of September, 2015, was shown to him, in which the ministries of Energy and Finance were asking for a capacity charge. In response, he said he was not aware of the said letter, noting that it was signed by the ministers of Energy and Finance.
Commissioner George put it to him that they did reconciliation with Euro Africa Group before the bond was signed, and he answered that there was a directive that they should not pay for the capacity charge, and that they also got a letter from the office of the former president indicating that they should pay liabilities.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him what the basis was for NAWEC being asked not to pay the capacity charge. He responded that he did not know, and that there was no correspondence why the capacity charge was stopped but invoices kept coming.
Counsel Bensouda put it to him that there was a discount cheque, and he responded that none of the discount was part of the bond.
Again, Counsel Bensouda asked him the total cost of the discount cheques. In response, he told the commission that they would do the calculation. He further stated that according to the documents, he found out that Global Trading Group was interested for NAWEC to benefit from the discount cheques.
He further testified that he was not aware of the extension of fuel supply by Euro Africa Group after the expiration of the agreement in 2012.
It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that there was 17% mark for a construction of a plant , which was not built, and he said he was not part of it, and that he heard about it from the commission.
He also told the commission that the cost of the plant was not captured in the books of NAWEC , saying the monies left in the account was to buy fuel among other expenses.
Mr. Cham disclosed that GNPC was supplying NAWEC fuel but he was not part of the negotiation. Commissioner Saine then asked him why GNPC continued supplying fuel to NAWEC. He responded that they should check the records, further stating that NAWEC paid GTBank 50% discount.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him why the office of the former president was intervening, and he responded that the office of the former president was overseeing NAWEC.
Commissioner George put it to him that monies were withdrawn from NAWEC account for the construction of the plant, and was also asked how was it accounted for. He replied that NAWEC treated it as expenses.
At this juncture, documents relating to some correspondences and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Counsel Bensouda asked him to find out the total cost NAWEC paid for capacity charge, starting from 2005 to date. Mr. Cham, however, responded that he did the total calculation but was not in a position to tell the commission the total figure.
He was also asked to provide the commission with the audited financial report of the company from 2010 to date.
Commissioner Saine asked him what the revenue of the company was at the time, and he said it was D2.6 million.
Asked whether they had a system of governance, and who negotiated on behalf of NAWEC. He said he did not sign the contract.
He was again asked why NAWEC was responsible for the debt owed by Euro Africa Group to commercial banks. In response, he said because NAWEC owed Euro Africa Group.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 23 May 2018 : 12:58:46
NAWEC Finance Director faces Janneh Commission
The Point: Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Amat S. Cham, the finance director of NAWEC yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to NAWEC’s bond.
He testified that he started working at NAWEC as the finance director since 2015, noting that they had the Gunjur Water Supply and Kotu Ring. He said they had three contractors on these projects.
Mr. Cham told the commission that in 2014 the company had a debt of $64.2 million and that the company owed Euro Africa Group the sum of $62,212,287.89. He further told the commission that they owed some money to ECOBANK, BSIC Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank , Trust Bank and ACCESS Bank, stating that the total sum they owed to the commercial banks was D347,523,966.
He further adduced that they had several meetings to settle the debts, noting that it was realised that Euro Africa Group owed some commercial banks. He disclosed that they were to restructure the debts between Euro Africa Group and the commercial banks, revealing that the Central Bank was the facilitator.
Mr. Cham told the commission that he attended two meetings, adding that the Central Bank wrote to NAWEC about the exchange rate to be applied, and that there was a balance of D24,000,000 after the offset. He narrated that ECOBANK, BSIC, GTBANK and Trust Bank Ltd. were the parties for the bond, noting that the bond was guaranteed by the Central Bank.
He further stated that Euro Africa Group owed D1,798,717,533 to the commercial banks, and that the same company owed D340,000,000 to Standard Chartered Bank. He testified that the Ministry of Finance wrote a letter dated the 28th of April, 2015, that they had settled a debt totaling $24,188,951.05 owed by Euro Africa Group to Total Company, which was deducted from the $26,000,000 NAWEC owed to Euro Africa Group.
Mr. Cham stated that the total debt they owed to the banks was D2,156,250,500, stating further that energy charge was $28,909,827.32 and there was a capacity charge of $10,824,000.
At this juncture, documents relating to the bonds issued by NAWEC to the commercial banks and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted as evidence.
Mr. Mustapha Corr, former NAWEC official, also testified on skype in relation to Gamtel and NAWEC contracts.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 11 May 2018 : 13:09:53
Nawec MD Confirms Exorbitant Cost Of Generators
Foroyaa: May 10, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Baba Fatajo, the Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday May 9th, appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission to confirm the sum of $15,686,000 as the cost of four generators that together produced a total of only 18 Mega Watts of electricity.
Fatajo was summoned in connection to NAWEC’s contracts and some generators bought by the Nation’s Utility Company, as well as other related contract agreements.
Prior to testifying, he gave a synopsis of his career at NAWEC, starting from 1993 till the time he was dismissed in 2013 and later reinstated in March 2017.
Fatajo told the Commission that from 2000 to 2001, NAWEC had a contract for the provision of generators with Global Trading Group which he said, was made in two phases; that this included the supply of generators G 7 and G 8 respectively; that in 2005, there was a purchase agreement between Global Trading Group and NAWEC for four generators (G1, G2, G3 and G4) to be stationed in Brikama; that in 2009, NAWEC got a leased loan facility for the installation of a Power Plant at Brikama; that they could not get the amount for a 30 Mega Watt generator.
He further stated that the first phase at Brikama was a 9 Mega Watt plant; that there was another contract between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the provision of generators G5 and G6 respectively, which he said were provided.
According to him, NAWEC had a problem and it attracted an additional funding in 2009, disclosing that the installation of the generators was not complete. He told the Commission that they had a generator at Kotu (11 Mega Watt) whose construction started in 2016 and was co-funded by BADEA and OPEC; that this project was awarded to a consortium.
However, he said the other project was a 20 Mega Watt project funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and it started in February, 2018; that the contract was awarded in 2016.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him whether Batchy Baldeh was the MD of NAWEC in 2001, which he confirmed. He further revealed that he deputized for the Generation Manager, Tijan Bahum, when he travelled.
Mrs. Bensouda further asked him whether they were involved in the implementation of contracts and that he was not involved in the negotiation of the contracts; that Mr. Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of Global Trading Group while Batchy Baldeh signed on behalf of NAWEC.
At this point, documents relating to the contracts were given to him and he went through them. Other documents relating to the commissioning of an engine, were also given to him to go through. It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that the price for a total of 18 Mega Watts, was $15,686,000 which he confirmed.
Again, Counsel Bensouda informed him that there was an allegation before the Commission that some generators which were bought by NAWEC were not new ones, and he replied that one could verify with the manufacturer.
At this juncture, documents relating to some generators provided by Global Trading Group and other relevant documents, were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Fatajo was asked by Counsel Bensouda whether he was involved in the financing arrangement of the generators and he answered in the negative.
According to him, there was a shortfall in the budget as stated in the minutes of meetings, amounting to over $2,000,000. He was however quick to add that he had to establish whether the $12,000,000 was the actual cost of the project; that he also had to establish whether the project was funded by the Republic of Taiwan.
Mr. Fatajo further explained that a contract dated August 1st 2001, was signed between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the importation of heavy fuel, and on the 26th of July 2002, GTG and NAWEC signed another contract and Mr. Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of GTG, witnessed by Mr. Amadou Samba, while the former Managing Director of NAWEC Mustapha Corr, signed on behalf of the Company.
He further testified that Baba Jassey, NAWEC’s Financial Director, signed as a witness for NAWEC; that there were other contracts dated July 2nd and 30th 2007, between the same Companies; that there was a facility from the ECOWAS Commission but could not remember those who were involved in the project.
Sitting continues on May 21st 2018.
||Posted - 10 May 2018 : 15:57:19
‘I was not involved in the financing arrangement for the generators’
The Point: Thursday, May 10, 2018
Mr. Baba Fatajo, the managing director of NAWEC, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that he was not involved in the financing arrangement for the generators which were supplied to the company.
He appeared in connection to NAWEC contracts and other related issues.
Prior to testifying, he gave a synopsis of his career at NAWEC, starting from 1993 but was dismissed in 2013 and was later reinstated in March, 2017.
Mr. Fatajo told the commission that from 2000 to 2001, NAWEC had a contract for the provision of generators with Global Trading Group which he said was in two phases which included the supply of generators G 7 and G8 respectively, noting that in 2005, there was a purchase agreement between Global Trading Group and NAWEC for four generators (G1, G2, G3 and G4) at Brikama.
He told the commission that in 2009, NAWEC got a loan leased facility for the installation of a Power Plant at Brikama; adding that they could not get the amount for 30 Mega Watt.
Mr. Fatajo further stated that the first phase at Brikama was a 9 Mega Watt plant, noting that there was another contract between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the provision of generators which were G5 and G6 respectively which he said were provided.
According to him, NAWEC had a problem and it attracted an additional funding in 2009, disclosing that the installation of the generators was not complete. He told the commission that they had a generator at Kotu (11 Mega Watt Plant) whose construction started in 2016 and was co-funded by BADEA and OPEC. He added that this project was awarded to a consortium.
However, he said the other project was 20 Mega Watt which was the second project funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and it started in February, 2018; adding that the contract was awarded in 2016.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him whether Batchy Baldeh was the MD of NAWEC in 2001, which he confirmed. He further revealed that he deputized the Generation Manager Tijan Bahum, when he travelled.
Mrs. Bensouda further asked him whether they were involved in the implementation of contracts. In response, he said he was not involved in the negotiation of the contracts. He added that Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of Global Trading Group while Batchy Baldeh signed on behalf of NAWEC.
At this point, documents relating to the contracts were given to him and he went through them. Other documents relating to the commissioning of an engine were also given to him to go through, and it was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that the price for a total of 18 Mega Watt was $15,686,000 which he confirmed.
Again, Counsel Bensouda informed him that there was an allegation before the commission that some generators which were bought by NAWEC were not new ones, and he replied that one could verify with the manufacturer.
At this juncture, documents relating to some generators provided by Global Trading Group and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Fatajo was asked by Counsel Bensouda whether he was involved in the financing arrangement of the generators and he answered in the negative.
According to him, there was a shortfall in the budget as stated in the minutes of meeting, amounting to over $2,000,000. However he was quick to add that he had to establish whether the $12,000,000 was the actual cost of the project. He added that he also had to establish whether the project was funded by the Republic Taiwan.
Mr. Fatajo further explained that a contract dated 1st August, 2001, was signed between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the importation of heavy fuel, and on the 26th of July, 2002, GTG and NAWEC signed another contract and Mr. Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of GTG and witnessed by Mr. Amadou Samba, while the former managing director of NAWEC, Mustapha Corr, signed on behalf of NAWEC.
He further testified that Baba Jassey, NAWEC’s financial director, signed as witness for NAWEC. He revealed that there were other contracts dated 2nd and 30th of July, 2007, between the same companies. He said there was a facility from the ECOWAS Commission but could not remember those who were involved in the project.
Sitting continues on the 21st of May, 2018.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 09 May 2018 : 21:42:30
It was wrong to give President Jammeh D11,000,000 loan Former GPA MD Admits
The Point: Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Momodou Lamin Gibba, former managing director, Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission and said that it was wrong to give the former president, Yahya Jammeh, a sum of D11, 000,000 loan by GPA.
He was summoned in connection to the former president’s Dobong properties.
Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, the commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, showed him some documents to confirm if they had to do with the former president’s properties. However, he said he was not familiar with the documents but was aware of the operation on the allocations of the lands by his father.
He added that there was a personal connection between the Gibba family and that of the former president, further stating that his father spent most of his life at Kanilai with the former president’s family.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that GPA’s monies were spent on these properties situated at his native village (Dobong). Mr. Gibba responded that it was part of GPA’s corporate social responsibility and that they were responsible for the cleaning, tiling and weeding of the said properties.
He testified that the GPA made sure that what ever they were doing, they copied it to the permanent secretary. He added that there was no permanent salary for the workers but rather they were giving them allowances. He disclosed that proceeds generated from the farms were usually taken to the office of the former president.
At this point, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that payments were made to villages. In response, he told the commission that they were not paying allowances to villages but they provided them with food and kola nuts.
He was again asked by Counsel Bensouda whether there were other farms being supported by GPA, and
he answered that they only concentrated on the Dobong farms. He said he was told by the villagers that the dilapidated building which was subsequently demolished was built by Amadou Samba.
On whether he had anything to do with the demolition by GPA, he replied that dock workers were part of those who were demolishing the building, and that most of the items in the building were stolen.
At this juncture, documents relating to the properties of the former president at Dobong were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Again, Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that there was a farm manager. He responded in the affirmative and added that the farm manager was employed by him but he was not paid a monthly salary by the GPA.
Further putting it to the witness, Counsel Bensouda told him that the former president was given D11,000,000 in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar by GPA while he was the MD. Mr. Gibba confirmed this after going through some documents which were shown to him.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine intervened and asked him whether he was concerned that there was a conflict of interest as to why GPA was operating a farm when they are not a business entity. However, he told the commission that the land was given to the former president for agricultural purposes.
Mrs. Bensouda, at this juncture, asked him whether he supported the Dombong farms when he was the MD at SSHFC. He replied that he was not aware.
At this juncture, documents relating to the D11, 000,000 in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar given to the former president by GPA were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
He finally testified that he endeavoured for the former president to understand the difference between the state and himself.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 08 May 2018 : 14:51:02
US$2.5M supposed to be paid to Forestry Department - Counsel Bensouda Tells Witness
The Point: Tuesday, May 08, 2018
The commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, yesterday told the director of Forestry, Muhammed Jaiteh, that the sum of US$2.5 million was supposed to be paid by West Wood Company to the Department of Forestry.
Mr. Jaiteh was testifying on the exportation of timber before the Janneh Commission.
According to him, the exportation of timber started in 2007 and they constituted a committee to look for those who were interested in the exportation of timber. He stated that the Forestry Act was silent as to how the exportation of timber should be done, further disclosing that a permit is given upon the number of containers one can export.
He further revealed that the exportation of timber was controlled by the Department of Forestry; adding that West Wood Company was identified along with Universal Trading Company as stated in a letter by the former president.
Mr. Jaiteh told the commission that in June, 2014, West Wood Company was identified to export timber by the office of the former president. He added that it was given an exclusive permit, further stating that their department issued licence to applicants who satisfied the act to export timber, and that they were at the mercy of West Wood Company, and the company frustrated their efforts.
He explained to the commission that the company should not remove the wood without the consent of the Department of Forestry.
At this juncture, he presented a letter dated 27th of July, 2016, to the commission. However, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that US$2.5 million was supposed to be paid to the department of forestry. In response, he said this was the amount owing which had not been settled; adding that from 2014 to 2016 11,710 containers were exported by West Wood Company which should be able to tell the commission the total number of containers they exported.
According to him, the former president annexed some community forests, noting that Nyambai forest was annexed by the former president in 2009. He testified that West Wood Company paid the sum of D77, 954,000 to the forestry department, and that no step was taken in 2016 to stop the exportation of timber.
At this juncture, a report prepared by the witness was tendered and admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was Hassan Jallow, permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, who reappeared in connection to the Japanese Food Aid.
Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, he was shown some documents for the delivery of rice to KGI which he signed. He said the process was led by the Ministry of Agriculture and he informed KGI in writing about the arrival of the vessel for the rice from the Japanese grant, adding that he was not responsible for delivery of the rice to KGI.
Mr. Jallow revealed that he was not aware of any arrangements for KGI to pay monies generated from the sale of rice to the Central Bank, noting further that he did not know when the account at the Central Bank was opened.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that he could have found out what was happening at the ministry, and he said that he could not and that Cherno Mballow, the then director, would be able to help.
Counsel Bensouda again put it to him that KGI owed the former government D189,676,154. In response, he said he never dealt with this issue, and that he did not know whether there was any reconciliation done.
He was urged by the commission to provide some outstanding information concerning the directors at the ministry.
Testifying via Skype, Mr. Muhammadou Batata Juwara, former deputy chief of protocol of the former president and currently based in New York, testified in connection to the lifting of crude oil to The Gambia from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said he was not involved in the lifting of the oil; adding that he was given a power of attorney by the former president to go to Nigeria to sign for the crude oil deal. However, he said he could not remember whether it was to sign on behalf of the former government or the former president in August, 1996.
“I received a letter from Dominic Mendy dated 26th August, 1996, which was a power of attorney and the former president asked me to go to one Mr. Johnson who gave me some documents which I took to Nigeria,” he testified.
On whether he travelled alone to Nigeria, he responded in the negative; adding that he went with one Samuel Sarr whom he said was a businessman from Senegal. He said he met Sarr and one Mr. Ndow at Kairaba Beach Hotel while strolling with his children. He stated that Mr. Ndow introduced Sarr to him and said that Mr. Sarr wanted to see the former president but it was not possible.
He said when he reported to work the following day, he asked the former president whether he saw Mr. Sarr and the former president responded that he did not trust Mr. Sarr. However, he told the former president that it was important to listen to them at times.
He then asked him to invite Mr. Sarr to come to state house and then told Mr. Ndow that Sarr had an appointment with the former president. He said Mr. Sarr told him to travel with him to Niger but he told him that he could not proceed to that country without obtaining permission from home.
He said he then contacted the former president and he (Jammeh) asked him to join Mr. Sarr in Niger. He said upon arrival in that country, he was given a secret code and he went to the French embassy in Niger and was asked to wait in his hotel in Niger.
Mr. Juwara disclosed that somebody met him at his hotel with a suitcase containing CFA currency which was handed to him and the person left; adding that Mr. Sarr told him to travel with the suitcase of money to The Gambia. He narrated that he went to the VIP lounge and later travelled to The Gambia.
He stated that the man who met him at the hotel was a French man and the sum of money in the suitcase was 60,000,000 CFA, further noting that he went to Dakar where somebody was waiting for him at the airport, who told him that they should travel by land.
According to him, the man told him that the former president was waiting for him, and he then called the former president and asked him whether he was the one who authorized the person to travel with him. He said the former president confirmed it and then they both travelled to The Gambia.
He stated that the said man was the Gambian high commissioner to Dakar, who was Mr. Njogu Bah, further testifying that he met Samuel Sarr once or twice about the signing of the crude oil.
Mr. Juwara told the commission that he was just like a messenger on his trip to Nigeria, and that he went to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) with the power of attorney, and that Maba Jobe was the high commissioner to Nigeria.
He further revealed that he saw no relevance for him to be given a power of attorney when he was travelling with Dominic Mendy to Nigeria as the Trade minister, noting that he also signed a contract with Chanrial Company in France while he was there with Mr. Samuel Sarr.
The former protocol officer disclosed that there was an agreement dated on the 23rd of August, 1996, with Nigeria and the former government which he signed, and that he was only told that crude oil was given to the former president but he could not remember how much oil was allocated to The Gambia.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 05 May 2018 : 13:56:40
Jammeh confirmed the lifting of crude oil to Gambia - Hawa Sisay-Sabally Discloses
The Point: Friday, May 04, 2018
Hawa Sisay-Sabally, former attorney general and minister of Justice, yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission and said that the former president, Yahya Jammeh, confirmed the lifting of crude oil to The Gambia from Nigeria.
She was testifying in connection to arbitration in England filed by Chantrial Commercial CSA against the former government in connection to the lifting of crude oil from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to her, the said suit was filed against the former government in 1998 at the time she was serving in the said portfolio; adding that they came to know about the case through a letter from the British High Commission in Banjul which was also copied to the then Secretary General, Alieu Ngum.
At this juncture, she informed commissioners that she prepared a folder for the commission, showing correspondences regarding Gambia/Nigeria fuel saga which was spearheaded by the Chantrial Commercial Company.
Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, at that point, applied to tender the folder produced by the witness in evidence which was upheld by the commission. Documents such as writ of summons from the high court in England and correspondence concerning the said suit were also admitted in evidence.
Mrs. Sabally further explained that when she received the letter from the Department of State for External Affairs, she made it clear to Mr. Ngum, issues surrounding the former government and then requested for him to make an arrangement for her to have an audience with the former president.
She said when she met the former president about the crude oil matter which was then before the high court in England, he told her that he had no idea about the deal.
However, the former president asked her to travel to U.K. and told them that he knew nothing about the lifting of crude oil from Nigeria but she insisted that it was not how things should work because there was supposed to be a barrister to represent the former government in court.
On how much was the outstanding balance for the crude oil, she responded that it is over $651,000; noting that she was misled by the former president regarding the crude oil but he later confessed and said to her that it was a support given to him by the former Nigerian President Sanni Abarcha, for President Jammeh’s political career.
However, Commissioner Saine told her then it was no more bilateral support but “president-president” support and relations, but the witness said that it was confirmed that the accountant general did not receive any proceeds from the crude oil.
It was further observed that in the second contract for the lifting of crude oil, it was signed on behalf of the former government by one Abdoulie Sarr, also known as Samuel Sarr, on the instructions of the former president while one David Ford signed on behalf of the company.
She further told the commission that Mr. Sarr was an emissary of the former president who was issued with a Gambian diplomatic passport.
Barrister Sisay-Sabally disclosed that the former president told her that the Ministry of Trade confirmed to him the crude oil contracts between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Gambia and asked her to travel to England. She added that her trip to England, including per diem, was funded by state house as promised by the former president.
According to her, when she embarked on the trip, she met the former government’s attorney and upon her return, she attempted to meet the former president for the third time on the same matter but to no avail, and on the 27th of July, 1998, she wrote him a letter and insisted to see him on the 30th of the same month because the lawyer wanted something to rely on.
She said when she met the former president this time; she explained to him that she should obtain an affidavit from Dominic Mendy, former trade minister. However, she said the former president asked her to do that but she insisted for something to be put in writing prior to her approaching Mr. Mendy.
According to her, when she left State House to her office, she was called to go back and upon arrival, the former president congratulated her for her efforts and told her that they were parting company and served her with a termination letter.
She also explained to the commission that she was succeeded by the current ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bom Bensouda, and the crude oil file was handed over to her.
Earlier, Karamo Jawara, a principal banking officer at the Central Bank of The Gambia, reappeared in connection to the Japanese grant accounts. He told the commission that he had the list of summary and transaction of fifteen accounts which he said if added to the eleven that were presented, it would give a total of 25 accounts of Japanese grant.
He said the 2KR 2009 account had a balance of D5,589,000 and it was opened on the 26th of May, 2012, and the last transaction was on the 16th July, 2012. On the Japanese Grant 2KR 1999, he stated that the first transaction was on the 2nd of December, 2002, while the last transaction was on the 9th of December, 2002.
Mr. Jawara adduced that the Japanese Grant 2KR 2000 account had a balance of D6,437,072.13 and the last transaction on the account was on the 18th of June, 2004, while on the Japanese Food Aid 2007 account, he said the balance was D734,890 and the last transaction on the account was on the 10th of December, 2009.
On the Japanese Food Aid Sale of wheat flour account, he said there was a balance of D728,073 and the last transaction on the account was on the 22nd of May, 2012, while on the Japanese Food Aid KR 2010, he stated that there was a balance of D25, 992, 711.11 and the last transaction was in December, 2013.
Testifying further, he revealed that the Japanese Grant RSS account had a zero balance and the last transaction was in February, 2000, while on the Japanese Grant RSS Dollar account, he said there was no balance on it as well. He said there was no transaction on the Japanese Grant SG for Education Project account.
On the Japanese Non Grant Aid RYG, Mr. Jawara said the balance was D1,000,000 and the last transaction was on the 2nd of October, 1999, while the KR 2004 Rice Food Aid account had a balance of D957,000 and the last transaction was on the 10th of December, 2009.
Mr. Jawara testified that there was another account called KR 2009 with a balance of D71,520,625.63 and the last transaction was on the 17th May, 2012, while the sale of Japanese Rice account had a balance of D44,753,200 and the last transaction was on the 8th of September, 2014.
According to him, the Sale of Fertilizer 2KR 2007 account had a balance of D24, 235,532 and the last transaction was on the 19th October, 2010
At this juncture, the 14 accounts in connection to the Japanese grants and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Sittings continue on Monday 7th May, 2018.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 03 May 2018 : 15:24:19
Commission urged to investigate Bazzi over UD$65M agreement
The Point: Thursday, May 03, 2018
Former Managing Director Alagie Conteh, of NAWEC who was dismissed as the managing director in 2001, appealed to the commission to investigate the sum of US $65,000,000 agreement between the company and Muhammad Bazzi with regard to the supply of generators among others.
Mr. Conteh, whose evidence centred on the supply of generators, spoke on wide range of issues relating to the company, as well as the monopoly of fuel supply and spare parts to the company by Lebanese- Belgian businessman, Muhammad Bazzi.
He claimed that the operational maintenance of these generators still remains a burden to the company as they could not serve the purpose they were bought for.
He recalled that there was a loan agreement between the governments of The Gambia and Venezuela but he could not tell the commission the amount of the loan.
He accused Mr. Bazzi of complete monopoly over the supply of fuel and spare parts to the company which he said had affected it.
From the technical point of view as an engineer, he advised that it is prudent to assess the ages of the generators but he could not ascertain whether that applied to the three generators supplied to the company at the time he was the managing director.
He also told the commission that Mr. Bazzi’s company is operating at the Boosters Station which he said is owned by NAWEC but he was not paying anything to the company.
At this juncture, he presented some bid opening to the commission to the tune of $9,611,849.57 for the bidding. He also came with documents showing high payments for the said generators which were old.
According to him, Mr. Bazzi made a monthly capacity charge of $721,600 which he said was very expensive.
Bid made by Dabananeh Electrical Company and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence, as well as a list of NAWEC managing directors, finance directors and chairpersons. Counsel Bensouda put it to him that there was a loan of US $7.6million and US$ 25,542,000 to the former government and that the US $25,542,000 was for the supply of 6 mega watt generator set. In response, he said there was no supply of such generator.
He further disclosed that he did a handing over with Batch Baldeh, and at this juncture, Counsel Victoria Andrews announced her representation for Mr Bazzi and told the commission that she would cross-examine the witness.
He said that the company could not contest the price of $720,000 for the operation of a power plant because there were consequences.
Mr. Conteh testified that when he took over as the managing director of the company, they had generators such as G6, G3, G11, G1 and G2 respectively.
According to him, they were managing the said generators effectively and the power failure was not frequent as today, claiming that when Mr. Bazzi came, he brought three generators which included generators G7, G4 and G8.
Mr. Conteh argued that some of the generators are still normal but alleged that some of them were dumped after they had no use or value which he said was a burden to the company.
Sanna Jarju, former chief of protocol, reappeared on video conference in connection to tax recovery, MRI presidential project and the gateway accounts.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 02 May 2018 : 14:16:01
‘Bazzi would get you sacked if you are professional’
The Point: Wednesday, May 02, 2018
Former managing director of NAWEC, Alagie Conteh has told the Janneh Commission that Muhammed Bazzi destroyed some human elements and that when he knew you were professional, he would get you sacked.
He, however, narrated that NAWEC was in difficulties because of excessive interference of the former government.
He narrated that he is a businessman and has a company called Dabananeh Electrical Company. He told the commission that he worked with NAWEC since 1979 before he started his own company, noting that he was the Transmission and Distribution manager.
He disclosed that he became the managing director in 1999 and was demoted in 2001 when he finally left NAWEC. He was asked whether there was abdication of resources by the former president at NAWEC. He answered that there was interference by the former president.
Mr. Conteh revealed that before the interference by the former president, NAWEC was doing well, and that their generator number 6 was performing well, adding that this generator is the best.
He adduced that some Italians and the former government were to sign a contract for some generators, further noting that the former president asked him to sign the contract and he (the former president) would be his witness. He said he told the former president to give him time to peruse the documents.
Mr. Conteh told the commission that the former president told the Italians that he (Mr. Conteh) had to go through the documents. He said he did not sign and was then removed from his position and later reinstated. He said that Amadou Samba, Mr. Bazzi and Baba Jobe met him in his office and asked him to go ahead with the contract but he told them that he needed a certificate to confirm that the generators were new, adding that he was told by Mr. Bazzi that the former president was already in for the contract.
Maba Jobe, the former High Commissioner to Nigeria, also told the Janneh Commission that he was put in the darkness when crude oil was being lifted to The Gambia from Nigeria.
He told the commission that he is a businessman and worked in the public service, and left in 2002, stating that he was in the military from 1980 to 1982. He further narrated that he was in the gendarmerie and later joined the army.
He said that he was an interim army commander, and that when he was a high commissioner, Sanni Abarcha was the president of Nigeria.
At this juncture, he was shown a letter dated 1996 and was asked by Counsel Bensouda to tell the commission what he knew about the said letter but he told the commission that it was the first time that he saw the letter.
He was again asked how he knew that there was a delegation to make an arrangement for the lifting of the oil, and he said that Samuel Sarr, Dominic Mendy and Batata Jawara were part of the delegation.
He further stated that he was informed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the delegation would arrive in Nigeria for the lifting of the crude oil, adding that no letters were delivered to his office for the arrival of the delegation.
It was put to him that there was a request made to the former president of Nigeria, Mr. Obasanjo, to lift the crude oil to The Gambia. In response, he said he had already left at the time, further testifying that most African countries were benefiting from the facility.
Mr. Jobe informed the commission that he was surprised to see Samuel Sarr to be part of the delegation because he was not a government official, revealing that Mr. Sarr went to Nigeria more than once. He recalled that there was a court case about the lifting of the crude oil which he read in the papers.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine put it to him that he was sidelined by the former president but he said he did not know the reason. He was again asked by Commissioner Saine whether he learned any conflict of interest in the way the lifting of the crude oil was being done, and he responded that he had no role in the lifting of the oil. He further revealed that he never signed any contract for the lifting of the said oil.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 23 Apr 2018 : 12:07:52
Engineer Testifies At ‘Janneh’ Commission
Foroyaa: April 20, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
The Commission of enquiry set up by the Government of Adama Barrow to investigate into the assets and financial dealings of former President Yaya Jammeh and his close associates, continues to receive the testimonies of witnesses who have been served to appear at the said Commission, chaired by Senior Counsel Surahata S. Janneh.
On the sitting of Thursday 19th April 2018, Mr. Adama Samba, a civil engineer by profession, was summoned to appear at the Commission to shed light on the construction of line houses at the Farafenni Military Barracks.
The brief sitting saw Mr. Samba indicate to Commissioners that he was called by the office of the former president, to conduct a survey and design the houses; that he was however informed that the houses were built by the Military but would not know whether they were built or not.
After looking at a document shown to him by Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, he confirmed the total sum of D6.9 million, as the cost of the project.
Sitting continues on Monday 23rd April.
||Posted - 19 Apr 2018 : 14:48:49
KGI MD could not explain who appointed her
The Point: Thursday, April 19, 2018
The managing director of KGI has told the commission that she was appointed as the managing director of the company in October 2016 after her predecessor; Tony Ghattas a Lebanese national was demoted.
However, she could not explain who actually appointed her but did confirmed that she was informed but later she was called by the then exiled General Saul Badjie who summoned a meeting for her to work with her predecessor in order to restructure and regularise the affairs of the company.
However, she pointed out to the commission’s Chairman Sourahata Janneh that she would not know why Mr. Ghattas was demoted and she was appointed. She said when she was appointed; she co-signed cheques with Mr. Ghattas whenever he wanted to make transaction at the bank.
Wureh Njie-Ceesay yesterday continued to give evidence before the Janneh Commission on matters relating to the affairs of APAM where she once served as the managing director.
Alhamdullahi Petroleum and Mining Company (APAM ) was a mining company initiated by the former President purposely engaged in the mining of black sands which were sent to China.
She further recollected that she was briefed by Mr. Ghattas about the affairs of the company and its involvement in the sand mining before an account was opened, further recalling that by the time she was appointed, the account was already closed.
The former banker explained that she was not involved in the selling of black sand but was briefed by Mr. Ghattas as well as the shipment account where the proceeds of the black sand were deposited.
She further clarify that she was not privy to the statement of the shipment account but did confirm the company’s hiring of foreign employees from China.
“I did not sign anything on the joint venture agreement between APAM and Shanghai Gambia,” she reacted.
Hearing continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 19 Apr 2018 : 09:03:56
Operation bulldozer used to recover KGI’s debts: KGI MD
The Point: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
The managing directors of Kanilai Group International, Wurreh Njie-Ceesay yesterday revealed to the ‘Janneh’ Commission that she was informed that a security unit under the former regime known as “operation bulldozer” was used in recovering KGI’s debts.
However, Mrs. Ceesay made it clear that she did not witness such an operation.
Mrs. Ceesay and the managing director of The Gambia Food and Safety Quality Authority formally called The Gambia Groundnut Corporation were summoned before the commission in connection to issues surrounding their companies, including the transaction and purchase of tractors among other related matters.
Wurreh Njie-Ceesay, who reappeared for the third time cantered her evidence on the Japanese rice grant and the purchase of Mahindra tractors.
She testified that there was a file purposely for the tractors but there was no account at the time she took over as the managing director of the company.
According to her, the tractors were a grant to the government but she has no idea about the tractors until when they talked to some customers and that was the time they realised that there was a sort of down payments with regard to the said tractors.
The former banker also recollected that based on their findings and consultations of some of the customers, they found out that the company owed the state the sum of D3.5million, and further disclosed that the total cash she received from the rice debtors when she took over as the MD was D1, 991,344 but did not know the total outstanding balance of the debt when she was appointed.
However, she pointed out that at the time of her appointment as MD, the total outstanding balance for the tractors was D1.4million.
Mrs. Ceesay categorically refuted any connection between KGI and West Wood Company but did confirm dealing with Euro Africa Group for the supply of fuel to the company.
She also explained to the commission that she had no relation with business mogul, Amadou Samba, when she assumed as the MD of the company.
At that juncture, commission counsel’s Amie Bensouda, asked her to provide her salary slip including the staff of the company, noting that she has never received any bonus other than her allowance.
On the recovery of the company’s debts, she revealed that she was informed that “Operation Bulldozer” was used in order to recover their debts but she had not witnessed the operation.
Next to testify was Anthony Gabriel Carvalho, the managing director of Gambia Food and Safety Quality Authority formally called The Gambia Groundnut Corporation also faced the commission to shed light on the purchase of John Deere tractors.
He recalled that in 2012, the corporation received a written information from the permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance asking them to open a letter of credit at Trust Bank for the purchase of the said tractors from South Africa and the sum of $2.5million as their LC was made by the corporation which was sent to the bank and the ministry respectively.
Mr. Carvalho further testified that they later received a notice from the bank indicating that they have received collateral from Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation ( SSHFC). He said after due procedures were followed for the procurement of the tractors the bank also spelt out their conditions.
According to him, the ministry at the time could not open a letter of credit at the bank because they did not have an account and the corporation was requested to do so which they did but they never requested for the tractors at the time.
He finally explained that the tractors were purchased but the corporation was never refunded by the government and its apparatus, further stating that over D58million was debited from their account with interest for the overdraft.
Sittings continue today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 17 Apr 2018 : 13:48:10
Amadou Samba’s attorney cross-examines witness before Janneh Commission
The Point: Tuesday, April 17, 2018
The lawyer representing Mr. Samba, Sheriff Tambadou yesterday cross-examined the country coordinator of MA Kharafi and Sons, Momodou Lamin Sonko before the Janneh Commission following his evidence that Amadou Samba was involved in the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Mr. Sonko in his evidence before the inquiry had informed the commission that Amadou Samba and his sister, Mary Samba were initially involved in the sale of the hotel and explained various roles played by Mr. Samba and his sister, Mary Samba who is also his lawyer.
Under cross-examination yesterday, Mr. Sonko confirmed that he was called by MA Kharafi who was in Cairo, Egypt at the time for the sale of the hotel to the then exiled former President Yahya Jammeh.
According to him, no formal receipt was given to him after the payment of $10,000,000 which he said was paid at the Standard Chartered Bank after an agreement was reached.
Mr. Sonko further explained that the document which contained the name of Edward A. Gomez but it was not stated that the document was prepared by him rather it was prepared by Mary Samba.
He also explained that he could not remember whether he incorporated any business name called “Millennium” in the name of his business when asked by Counsel Tambadou, the lawyer for Mr. Samba.
Asked who were the shareholders of Millennium Africo Water and Electricity Power Company Ltd., after a careful perusal of a document given to him, he said the shareholders were himself and Kanilai Family Farm.
Barrister Tambadou at that point applied to tender the memorandum and article of association and business registration of the company as exhibits.
Counsel for Mr. Sonko, Combeh Gaye, however, raised an objection on the basis that it was irrelevant to the subject matter before the commission which his client was summoned to testify.
The document notwithstanding was admitted in evidence as exhibit after the commission’s chairman, Sourahata Janneh weighted its admissibility.
Mr. Sonko, the proprietor of Boto Construction refuted that the said documents do not mean that he was engaged in business with Jammeh rather the former president verbally offered him 20% share after he introduced a company to him which he vested interest.
He insisted that Mr. Samba signed a document during the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel on behalf of Jammeh but he has not got the documents which Mr. Samba signed, adding that the documents which Mr. Samba signed was rejected and could not produce.
KPMG report on the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel was requested by commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda and urged the witness to liaise with MA Kharafi to make it available to the commission.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 11 Apr 2018 : 13:59:24
It was intimidation under Jammeh: Aki Bayo
The Point: Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Momodou Aki Bayo, the former minister of Regional Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers has yesterday testified before Janneh Commission that under Jammeh’s rule, there was a climate of fear, intimidation, torture and disappearances and most officials under his administration had a story to tell.
However, he said despite all those difficult circumstances he tried everything possible not to make anyone cry.
He and Ismaila Sanyang, the former Agriculture minister appeared before the commission in connection to KGI, MRI and other government accounts and the leases of properties issued to the former president and Gambia Milling Corporation respectively.
Mr. Bayo who appeared in connection to land leased to Yahya Jammeh and Gambia Milling Corporation also gave a background on portfolios he held under the former governments.
Prior to his testimony, Mrs. Bensouda told him that he approved a leased land belonging to the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) to a private company (Gambia Milling Corporation) to which he responded in the affirmative.
However, the counsel told him that the land was a freehold but he said he rely heavily on technical advice and this matter was dealt with by Physical Planning and the Department of Lands and Survey, including technical staff of his ministry. He added that being a freehold land, there should have been an approval from the National Assembly and the president before it should have been leased.
According to him, his records showed that GPA gave their consent on the leasing of the land. However, he could not produce the document at that spot but was required to produce when next he face the commission.
On the approval of the four properties on the coastal area leased to KFF, he said he did not know how these extensive properties were acquired without following due process as alluded to by the Department of Tourism.
However, he said, as the minister at the time, he relied on his technical staff and if it was pointed out to him that the said land fall under TDA he would have made a second thought.
Mr. Bayo told the commission that it’s not his style to blame his junior staff; adding that he did not only signed the leased documents based on the advice from the technical staff but it was also done out of fear.
He further told commissioners that had it been he refused to approve them, then there would have been consequences which would be detrimental. He said his junior staffs were not consulted prior to granting lease lands to the former president.
On whether the former president discussed with him about land matters, he responded in the affirmative; adding that the former head of state on couple of occasions told him about land affairs.
According to him, during a Cabinet retreat in Kailai, the former president emphasised to him as to why one of his provincial properties was not leased but he responded to him that the documents were yet to reach his desk. Thereby describing the way the former president spoke to him as ‘threatening.’
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine interjected and asked whether there was a culture of collaboration between him and his staff and he responded in the positive. “I do interact with them and they did advise me not to do certain things,” he expounded.
Mr. Bayo is expected to reappear today in connection to the lease surrounding Gambia Milling Corporation.
Mr. Sanyang confirmed to the commission that he was a co-signatory to various accounts namely, Tax Recovery, GNPC, MRI Presidential, Higher Education, PAC/PEC and Kanilai Institute of Technology Account respectively.
On how the MRI was funded, he responded that he has no idea as to how the account was funded because he found the account in operation at the office of the president and it was managed by the permanent secretaries, office of the former president.
At this juncture, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked him to explain a transaction for the withdrawal of D7, 000,000 which was authorised by him and Isatou Aurba, he responded it was an instruction from the former president for the said sum to be withdrawn and handed over to him as a matter of urgency.
However, he said he has no idea as to what the fund was intended for while confirming that he physically handed over the said sum to the former president but could not recollect in the presence of whom; adding that it is correct that he authorised the payment of D2,000,000 to Sanna Jarju, former chief of protocol.
Mr. Sanyang further told the commission that it will be difficult to know the purpose of the payment to Mr. Jarju, suggesting that Mr. Jarju should be in a better position to explain considering the condition they were working under and they dare not to ask.
According to him, these were inherited accounts and it would be difficult for him to explain how funds were lodged and withdrawn from the account; adding that the former president was more responsible for the funds than him as he was the chief executive of the country.
“It would be difficult for me to know what the monies were meant for under that circumstance,” he said.
He said if the issue of KGI was brought to his attention earlier as the Agric minister, he would have resolved the matter with regard to the debt amounting to D100, 000,000 it owe to the ministry.
Next to testify was Bakary Biati Trawally, a pathologist who indroduced himself as a former national and international civil servant.
Mr. Trawally who gave synopsis of his career as a civil servant since from 1979 was summoned in connection to the Japanese grants (rice) and testified that Japanese grants came well before Jammeh came into power but then it was in a form pesticides among others.
According to him, when the former president became minister of Agriculture in 2007, he was being move in and out of the ministry and hardly sees or communicates with him.
He alleged that it was very difficult to work with the former president as all correspondences had to be sent to the secretary general rather than the minister responsible for agricultural matters. He said during his time as PS, the ministry used to liaise with Sarja Camara of KGI regarding the Japanese rice, noting that the proceeds would be deposited at the bank but he never dealt with KGI.
“All the time I was at the Department of State for Agriculture (DOSA), there was no sitting minister at Quadrangle,” he said.
With regard to the Japanese grant, he said they were usually asked by the Japanese to list down the items needed prior to disbursement of consignment; that he did not think the Japanese grant help the poor people as intended, noting that the Gambia has a fertile soil and resources to produce what it consumes.
He, however, opined what the country needs to upgrade the soil by applying fertilizer, enhances the capacity of the farmers with farm implements as well as introduced irrigational systems. He said he never knew that KGI belongs to the former president and the Japanese would not specifically identify the companies to award contract for the sales of the rice.
He finally testified that he initially suggested for the sales of Japanese rice to be decentralised among the governors in various regions who will sale and deposit the proceeds into a Trust Bank account which would also in turn and deposit to CBG.
Next to face the commission was Woreh Njie-Ceesay, managing director of Kanilai Group International. She was summoned in connection to KGI accounts and APAM respectively.
During her evidence, Mrs. Ceesay told the commission that she was a banker with First International Bank (FIB) prior to assuming the responsibility of managing director of KGI.
On how she became MD for the said company, she said she was approached by the then Secretary General Momodou Sabally to serve in this portfolio; adding that while at the bank, she was the manager of the JB KGI account which she said was a joint venture investment different from KGI dealing with the importation of cement among others.
According to her, she was appointed as MD on March 14, 2014, and among the payments she was receiving were proceeds from Bakeries and Rental from Futurlec building among others. She added as MD of the company, she reports to Gen. Sulayman Badjie.
At this juncture, she confirmed that Gen. Sulayman Badjie owned 60% of KFF while she owned 40% as per the amendment on the Memorandum of Article and Association.
Mrs. Ceesay further disclosed to the commission that upon her appointment, a meeting was held between the former president, Momodou Sabally and herself and it was at this meeting that she was asked to be reporting to Gen. Badjie.
She finally testified that request for payments from the former president through Gen. Sulayman Badjie were available.
Sittings continue today.
|Bantaba in Cyberspace
||© 2005-2018 Nijii